James Prosek, Mutton Snapper, mixed media on tea-stained paper, 25 x 31 in, Courtesy of the artist.
James Prosek: Ocean Fishes
June 6, 2015 – September 6, 2015
The Museum’s summer, 2015, exhibition, James Prosek: Ocean Fishes, will include a large selection of the artist’s astounding paintings of salt water fish indigenous to Florida’s waters. The artist’s illustrated book of the same name was published in October, 2012.
Prosek is known for his unusually vibrant, life size depictions that capture the beauty and vitality of our “finny friends.” He prepared to paint Florida favorites such as the Snook, the Cobia and the Pompano, by making trips to the locations where these fish can be directly observed, including the Treasure Coast. “If I see my reflection in the eyeball of the fish or whatever, I’ll paint that in,” Prosek explains. “It’s me and the fish. I’ve kind of described [the paintings] as self-portraits in a way.” Prosek makes detailed sketches and takes extensive notes about the subtle shapes, tones, and highlights he sees. Unlike those who interpret color and form, he strives to imitate the intensity of the fish’s actual colors before they fade with death. “When [the fish] comes on the deck, it’s not only lit internally,” he continues, “but it’s like a swimming mirror, reflecting the world around it.”
Preferring to paint when he can have at least partially natural light, Prosek may spend up to fourteen hours a day in his studio. He uses a variety of water-media, including transparent watercolor, gouache, and acrylic to accurately approximate nature’s inimitable palette, working on large pieces of smooth, amber-toned paper.
The exhibition of Prosek’s paintings will on view from June 6 through September 6, 2015, in the Museum’s Schumann and Titelman Galleries.